1941 December 8, - 1945 January 18, CHELMNO/KULMHOF (Poland)
The first camp to be created specifically as a death camp was opened using the exhaust from mobile vans. Herbert Lange was the first commandant, followed by Hans Bothmann. Approximately 340,000 people were murdered there. Death camps or extermination camps were created for one purpose - to kill Jews and dispose of the bodies as efficiently as possible. The Nazi need to find more direct ways to implement their goal of a "Jew Free" Europe increased as a result of the influx of Jews from the East. In addition to Chelmno, there were five other main death camps: Belzec, Sobibor, Majdanek, Auschwitz, and Treblinka. Other smaller death camps were established near Vilna, Riga, Minsk, Kovno, and Lvov. In 1963, twelve of the camp's SS officers were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 1 to 20 years. Bothmann hanged himself in April 1946 after his arrest. There is no information on the whereabouts of Lange.